The Year of the Goat
18 February 2015
In the spirit of Chinese New Year and the Year of the Goat, here is an intriguing story from a tempestuous period in Edinburgh Castle’s history.
September 1745 was a troubled time in Edinburgh. The Jacobite army had arrived, led by Prince Charles Edward Stuart – a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie.
A well-armed and motivated force of some 3,000 men, largely Highlanders, had captured the city without much resistance.
But capturing Edinburgh Castle was a different matter. Its ramparts were bristling with state-of-the-art artillery. Charles would have dearly loved to get his hands on the Honours of Scotland but it seemed he lacked the firepower to do it.
Nonetheless, the garrison in the castle was understandably nervous. The castle governor of the time was an elderly warhorse named General George Preston. Though he struggled to walk, he reportedly had his bath chair wheeled around the castle ramparts every two hours to ensure the watch was alert.
One evening in September, General Preston brought his patrol to a sudden halt. A rustling noise, perhaps the sound of stealthy raiders, could be heard on the rocky slopes beyond the castle walls. Preston wasted no time in sending his men to investigate.
Within minutes, the culprits had been spotted and taken to their heels.
They were …
… a herd of goats!
This Chinese New Year is all about the goat or sheep, so we’ve gathered a special collection of gifts and local products in our Portcullis Shop. Be sure to stop by and check it out.